The Best Bluetooth speakers 2021 are must-have devices for any music lover, thanks to their portability, durability, and fantastic audio quality – and it’s not hard to see why they’ve become the go-to sound solution for music fans looking to take their tunes with them wherever they go.
Whether that’s to the garage, out to the garden, or down to the beach, the best Bluetooth speakers are an essential buy.
Because they’re such a good idea for so many of us, there’s a huge range of bluetooth speakers to pick from. This is great news but does mean it can be a challenge to make the right choice. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research and the testing, which means we’re in a prime position to select the very best bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2021.
Whatever kind of bluetooth speaker you’re looking for, this guide will help you to choose the Best Bluetooth speakers for your needs, wants, and budget.
Top 10 Best Bluetooth Speakers in The UK 2021
Here are the top 10 Best Bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2021.
1. JBL FLIP 5
If all you want is a Best Bluetooth speaker that sounds as good as you can currently buy for around £100 ($100, AU$119), you’ll be hard-pressed to better the fantastic Flip 5. JBL’s newest offering sounds great for the price and is rugged enough to cope with a day at the pool.
The Flip 5 is waterproof to an IPX7 rating, boasts a 12 hour battery life and has a USB-C charging port, meaning it goes from flat to fully juiced in just 2.5 hours. It’s a pleasure to use and scores highly for portability, with a wrist strap that slips comfortably over our hand. There’s also a PartyBoost button that helps you pair two PartyBoost-enabled speakers to create a stereo pair, or link over 100 PartyBoost-compatible speakers in mono.
Sound is impressively weighty and agile, with a good punch of bass and a real sense of openness and texture. Assuming you don’t mind the lack of an aux-in port or inbuilt microphone (as seen in the Flip 4), you’ll almost certainly be wowed by this speaker’s sonic chops. A superb performer.
2. Sony SRS-XB23
A powerful canister of sound for all your outdoor adventures. The best bluetooth speakers you should consider to buy.
The entry-level Sony SRS-XB23 is a rock-solid $99 (around £80 / AU$150) portable outdoor speaker that features an IP67 rating and a 12-hour battery life.
In terms of performance, it can get pretty loud without a massive amount of distortion and the passive radiators help the bass to sound clearer than it has on any of Sony’s previous models. That’s because the XB23 uses Bluetooth 5 and supports three major codecs – SBC, AAC and LDAC, the latter of which you’ll find on newer Android devices and sounds absolutely great.
Outdoor adventurers will love the ruggedness of the speaker while us kick-back-and-relax folks will enjoy how snugly it fits into a lawn chair’s cup holder.
3. LG XBOOM Go PL7
The best Bluetooth speaker with RGB lighting.
If you’re looking for The Best Bluetooth speakers to brighten up a party or simply add a bit of ambience to your listening sessions, the LG XBOOM Go PL7 should definitely be on your radar. With customisable lighting effects and impressive audio performance, the PL7 catches the eye while engaging the ears.
It doesn’t skimp on more practical features though, offering multi-speaker pairing with other XBOOM devices, voice assistant support and the ability to double up as a speakerphone or power bank. An IPX5 rating means it’ll withstand rain showers and spilt beverages, just don’t go dunking it in the bath or swimming pool.
4. Ruark R1 Mk4
Family-owned brand Ruark, based on the south coast of England, has been developing sound systems and radios since the Eighties, so the pedigree is clear to see. The R1 Mk4 radio is, as the name suggests, the fourth generation of Ruark’s flagship R1 radio – it looks like a classic radio, perfect for the bedside or a coffee table, with a pleasingly old-school look that hides some very modern, class-leading audio and visual tech.
The OLED display shows the time, station or song that’s playing, which is handy if you’re not permanently tied to your phone. This is certainly a radio first, rather than a dedicated speaker, but the sound quality is more than a match for many speakers at this price point, with the treble particularly impressive. It’s a charming product that upgrades the R1 series while retaining its unique spirit.
5. KANTO TUK
The Best Bluetooth Speakers disguised as a complete music system
If you’re a Bluetooth purist – do such people exist? – looking for a great sounding speaker, TUK is one of a very small number of options right now. Most higher-end wireless speakers also include Wi-Fi and cloud connectivity to service Tidal, Spotify, AirPlay, Chromecast et al. Kanto TUK has no truck with such new-fangled notions. It supports Bluetooth 4.2 – AAC and AptX – and NO OTHER WIRELESS CONNECTIONS AT ALL!
It’s also not a speaker. It’s a stereo pair of attractive, compact bookshelf speakers. The right hand one contains the connections and DACs and Class D amplifiers and all that, and the right one is a slave, connected by a wire. Yes, doing ‘proper’ stereo Bluetooth without a wire between the speakers is a more elegant solution – but in my experience it never works satisfactorily 100% of the time.
It’s also not just a pair of speakers, either. With a pre-amped input for a turntable, a standard, line level phono input, optical digital and USB, the Kanto TUK is actually what old people would call a ‘music system’ or ‘mini system’.
6. Sonos One (Gen 2)
The Sonos One has integrated voice control from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant like the Sonos Move and Roam, allowing you to control other Sonos speakers, as well as order an Uber or control smart lights, for example.
It features a similar design to the older and discontinued Play:1, but the Sonos One has a colour-matched speaker grille and a capacitive touch control pad rather than physical buttons. It also offers the same sound architecture as the Play:1 and while it doesn’t offer the power of the Sonos Five, the Sonos One still sounds great for its size.
It’s worth noting there is a second generation Sonos One model available which includes the addition of Bluetooth Low Energy, an updated processor and an increased memory over the 2017 model.
7. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P2
The Beoplay P2 is a stylish, travel friendly, splash-resistant Bluetooth speaker that delivers impressive sound for its small size. Battery life is decent (10 hours), and there’s a built-in microphone for voice calling and voice activation.
Like virtually all these small speakers, the P2 is strongest in the midrange and excels with less-complicated music where you don’t have a lot of instruments playing at once — think acoustic tracks. While it can play pretty loudly, it’s going to sound best in the 50-80 percent volume range. Battery life is rated at 10 hours, which is good for a speaker this size.
8. Bose SoundLink Revolve+
If you’re less fussed about the bells and whistles of other Bluetooth speakers in this list, and just want a simple device that instead puts its efforts into sound quality, we recommend the Bose SoundLink Revolve+.
Its dual-passive radiators, downward facing transducer and omnidirectional acoustic deflector deliver the best, true 360-degree sound in this list even if the speaker is positioned by a wall or on shelves.
It lasts around 16 hours before needing to be charged (up four hours from its predecessor Bose SoundLink Revolve) and has a flexible fabric handle.
It’s one of the better looking, stylish speakers on the market which matches it’s high-end price.
9. UE Megaboom 3
The Best Bluetooth Speakers overall 2021
Thanks to its excellent sound quality, long battery life and travel-ready ruggedness, the UE Megaboom 3 is the best Bluetooth speaker you can buy right now. This big, bold portable speaker pumps out rich 360-degree sound complete with crisp highs and satisfying low-end, and maxes out at 100 decibels of noise. And with an IP67-rated design, it can survive drops, splashes and a fall into the pool without skipping a beat.
The Megaboom 3 is on the bigger side compared to other portable speakers, and unlike many of its competitors, it doesn’t have Alexa or Google Assistant support, or any other smart features. But if that’s not a dealbreaker, the Megaboom 3’s sound quality and ruggedness can’t be beat for the price. You can also pair it with older Megaboom and Boom models for a stereo sound experience.Buy Now on Amazon
10. Anker Soundcore Boost
The Anker Soundcore Boost is the best Bluetooth speakers in the UK 2021 for folks shopping on a budget. For under $50, this tiny powerhouse delivers loud, well-balanced sound within an IPX7-rated design that can survive water, dust and snow. The speaker lasts a whopping 24 hours, thanks to Anker’s best-in-class battery technology, and the Soundcore 2’s dual neodymium drivers ensure you’ll get powerful sound in any setting.
The Soundcore’s compact, 6.5 x 2.1 x 1.77-inch design makes this speaker perfect for tossing into your bag for a quick road trip, and it comes in vibrant blue and red color schemes in addition to the standard slick black. Its low cost makes it ideal for environments where you wouldn’t mind it getting a little roughed up, too.
How to choose The Best Bluetooth Speakers for you?
Fixed or portable?
If you’re looking for The Best Bluetooth Speakers you can carry around, you’ll want one with a built-in battery. Any Bluetooth speaker worth its salt will usually last for at least eight hours and some will go into double figures. In the past, most portable Bluetooth speakers were charged via a micro-USB cable but with the emergence of USB-C, we’re starting to see many manufacturers move over to that as their preferred charging method.
Certain Bluetooth speakers aren’t designed for moving around, meaning they don’t have a battery and will instead need to be plugged into your mains. What these lack in portability they should make up with fuller and richer sound.
Ruggedised and waterproof
Bluetooth speakers make great outdoor companions. You can find waterproof and ruggedised models that are ideal to take on outdoor adventures, without worrying about them getting damaged. The rugged models will have shock-proofing, meaning they can handle occasionally being thrown around or dropped.
When it comes to water resistance, be sure to check the IPX rating as that will tell you to what extent it can survive exposure to water. Some waterproof models will have IPX7, meaning they can survive being submerged in up to a metre of water for at least 30 minutes. Less waterproof models might only be IPX4-rated and so can only handle a splash.
As Bluetooth speakers vary widely in size, they can have vastly different numbers of drivers inside. Smaller Bluetooth speakers may only have one or two drivers, but larger ones can have significantly more. Different sizes of drivers will handle different frequency ranges. A woofer will handle the lower frequencies so, if you favour bass response, look out for a speaker with a dedicated woofer. Mid-range and tweeters will handle the mid and higher frequencies respectively. In terms of sound quality, it’s typically better to have a dedicated driver for each frequency range, rather than fewer drivers performing double duties.
Hands-free calling and voice assistants
Lots of Bluetooth speakers will also have a built-in microphone, which means you can use them for hands-free calls. This means they can serve a useful dual purpose and are a better option than using your phone’s speaker. Some also support the use of voice assistants such as Siri, Google and Alexa. These speakers allow you to control your audio with voice commands rather than using the physical buttons on the output device or speaker itself.
There are lots of speaker styles to choose from – that’s why we’ve put together lots of guides on The Top 10 Best Bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2021.
Want to take your music everywhere, like some kind of roaming, new-gen, on-demand jukebox? You’re going to need to invest in a portable Bluetooth speaker. But while that used to mean taking a hit on sound quality, now you don’t have to compromise.
Pick wisely and you can get great sounding speakers with good battery life and stacks of extra features, including things like waterproofing and Alexa voice controls. We’ve picked our favourites, at various prices, to help steer you in the right direction.